Best Bubbly For Your Buck

Since we don’t profess to be experts just wine enthusiasts, sometimes when it comes to recommendations we look for a little help from our friends.  And because our main love is big bold reds we figured if we wanted to add some cheer to your New Year we’d better get some advice.

 

Ange-about-usThis summer we met Ange Aiello the founder of iYellow Wine Club, a social wine club based in Toronto with monthly wine events, wine tours and newsletters.  With over 4000 members, they count on Ange to know her stuff and she definitely does, especially when it comes to local. And we say what better way to boost the economy than by buying local.

Ange is fun, charming and bubbly so who better to suggest the perfect bottle to pop on New Year’s Eve.  From the budget basics to the luxurious here’s her list:

Affordable and fun bubbly
1- Mionetto Prosecco – Italian and delicious $11.95
2- Moscato Spumante – sweeter and sparkly $12.95
3 – Wolf Blass – traditional method, dryer and a great with lots of appetizers $17.95
4- Trapiche Sparkling Brut – $11.95

Local Bubbly
1- Peller Estates Ice Cuvee Rose $32.95 – Sparkling wine made like champagne with cabernet Franc Icewine
2 – Chateau Des Charmes Brut $23.95 – dry and delicious
3 – Jackson Triggs Entourage Brut – perfect for the holidays
3 – Casa Dea Brut – $18.95 – A great local bubble from Prince Edward County
4 – Henry of Pelham Rose Catherine – declious and perfect and pink!
5 – Sparkling Icewine – $79.95 – a delight to share and spoil with, start or end a meal with!

Luxurious Bubbly – Champagne (From France and over $40.00)
1- Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne $67.85
2- Taittinger Brut Reserve Champagne $59.95
3- Nicholas Feuillatte Brut Champagne $44.55

Ange also shared her suggestions on Canada AM recently and if you want to watch the video here’s the link http://canadaam.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=832987&playlistId=1.1090712&binId=1.815911

She’s also got a couple of upcoming ice wine tours to Niagara in January that should be a blast so check out the wine club if you’re interested in tagging along.

imagesEven though sparkling wines and champagne are what we know best the one thing we do know is they go with everything. So whether you’re just popping the cork to cheer in the New Year or pairing it up with dinner nothing makes you smile like tiny bubbles tickling your taste buds.

So raise a glass and celebrate the New Year with us as we will be thinking of all of you.  May  2013 be an outstanding year not just for the vintages you choose to drink but also for you, your family and all your friends.

Cheers!

 

 

 

Bring on the Bubbly

0Now that we’ve all had our fill of family, fun and enough food to make us feel like we should get on the treadmill, it’s time for the next round.  So whether you’re planning a night on the town, a house party or a quiet night in, nothing says “Happy New Year”  like a glass of bubbly.

There are lots of options out there from the budget basics to price popping high-end Champagnes.  But with sparkling wines being produced around the world only those made in the Champagne region of France may truly call themselves by that name, a protection originally granted by the Treaty of Madrid in 1891.

Chris McDonald, owner of Cava Restaurant
Chris McDonald, owner of Cava Restaurant

But besides sparkling wine and Champagne there’s another name you may or may not be familiar with, one I recently learned about from Chris McDonald the chef and owner of a restaurant named in its honour, Cava located in Toronto.  Recently Chris shared his knowledge of all things related to the foods and holiday traditions of Spain and presented me with a bottle of Agusti Torello Kripta.  I haven’t actually tasted it yet (saving it for our New Year’s toast) but I fell in love with the bottle the moment I saw it.

0Call me inquisitive or nosy but nothing makes me want to find out the facts more than something I’ve never seen before and I’ve never seen a bottle shaped like this.   I don’t know if this is fact or fiction but Chris’ charming explanation made me laugh out loud.  He says the bottle’s torpedo like shape is intended so you can’t put it down making it good to the last drop.

2006 Cava Kripta
2006 Cava Kripta

This particular cava was created in 1979 by Agusti Torello Mata a man who has dedicated his life to making great cava.  The grapes come exclusively from old vineyards (over 50 years) in the Penedes area in the Catalonia region of Spain.  It’s a long aging cava (minimum 4 years with the yeast) made up of 3 grape varietals Macabeo, Xarel-lo and Parellada.  Each bottle is individually numbered and the beautiful label was designed by artist Rafael Bartolozzi.

0The card enclosed with the beautiful box suggests this cava is ideal for caviar, smoked fish or meats, foie gras and curated cheese and I’ll just add my suggestion of oysters (because I love sparkling wine and oysters).  But somehow I have a feeling this cava would go with anything. Unfortunately you won’t find this at the LCBO so if you want to give it a try you’ll need to head over to Cava on Yonge Street (website is in the blogroll) and tell Chris I sent you.

But no matter what fills your glass on December 31st here’s wishing everyone a very Happy New Year and many more.

Which one do you prefer – sparkling wine or champagne?

 

Revealing Your Wine Personality

I’m sure you’ve gathered from our posts that both Lis and I are lovers of big bold reds, but what does that say about our personalities?

Well, according to a recent UK study experts found the social habits of red wine drinkers were quite different from those who preferred white or rose.

They polled 2000 people, which is a relatively good number to accumulate accurate findings, but would they apply to wine drinkers in other countries?  Here are some of the statements made in the study and you can decide for yourself.

  • “Red wine drinkers appear to be the more relaxed of wine fans. White wine drinkers love the status quo. Whilst rosé fans are itching for change.”
  • Those who drink red wine are more likely to have a degree, be married and drink more frequently than their white and rose wine-quaffing counterparts.
  • White wine drinkers are more content with their jobs and have little interest in climbing the corporate ladder.
  • Red wine drinkers described themselves as confident, relaxed, strong and intelligent, whereas white wine drinkers chose terms like practical, bright, shy, quiet and reserved to describe themselves. Rose drinkers called themselves loud, warm and charming.
  • It also seems red wine drinkers brought home the biggest salaries but when it comes to social media Rose lovers like Facebook making 13 visits to the site per week versus 8 for red wine drinkers.

I’m won’t tell you if these statements apply to us but my motto has always been “if the shoe fits, wear it”.   So you decide if your wine of choice can reveal your personality and let us know if you’re a red, white or rose lover.

 

 

 

‘Tis the season to bring two bottles

It’s a busy time of year with some sort of Christmas or dinner party event each weekend. But for many of us  it’s a sort of marathon that includes multiple party pit stops in one night. Unfortunately there’s no Christmas Elf event planner checking your calendar so scheduling three parties into the space of 48 hours can challenge the best of us.  And even though the cold weather makes us want to curl up in our jammies with a good book the festivities give us a chance to get dressed up, see friends we might not have seen in some time and enjoy some holiday treats along with a glass of wine (or two or three).

When it comes to wine etiquette be aware the wine you bring may not be served since it’s generally considered a gift for the host.  If you really want to drink the wine you bring make sure to bring two, one for the host’s cellar and the other for the party.  And by all means if you feel like bringing more do so as it gives people the chance to taste different styles they may not have enjoyed before.

The best thing about wine is there’s so many styles to choose from.  If you know your host loves a particular grape go for something different, wine is an adventure and meant to be explored.  If your host is a wine lover/connoisseur don’t feel intimidated to spend big bucks on a bottle because these days there are tons of great buys around the $20 mark.

But boasting about the price is definitely a faux pas whether it’s the amazing find that only cost you ten bucks or the French Bordeaux you broke the budget on.

Often when people host a party with a large number of guests they go for the cheap and cheerful so as not to break the bank.  Remember if the host pours you something you’re not particularly fond of, battle back your inner wine snob and smile. Then hunt down something to nibble on because food can quickly make any wine more palatable.

 

And even as you dream of drinking that lovely bottle of Barberesco you brought to the party remember to be a good guest, sit back and enjoy the music and know that sometimes cheap and cheerful can be a whole lot of fun.

 

 

Behind The Barrel

Most of us have a general knowledge of the country from where the wines we enjoy come from.  We’re even fairly aware of the regions within those countries like Tuscany, Bordeaux, or South Australia but very rarely do most people know who the winemaker is unless it’s a big name like Wolf Blass, Robert Mondavi or a celebrity like Francis Ford Coppola.

This is not something you have to know but you’d be amazed a how much the actual winemaker influences the final product you pour in your glass.

A while back I had the pleasure of having lunch with chief winemaker, Ben Bryant of Wyndam Estate located in Hunter Valley NSW, Australia.  I took an instant liking to him because he’s a ginger and both my sons are also red heads, but besides that he was charming, engaging extremely passionate about the wines he makes.  He started working in vineyards pruning vines as a student to make some extra cash.  He quickly moved on to become a cellar hand and became ever more interested in the winemaking process.  As his appreciatoin for how wine affected the senses developed his passion to learn more also grew.

He enrolled in oenology at Charles Sturt University and completed his winemaking degree over the next 5 years  and soon became Winery Manager and Winemaker at Poets Corner.

He’s worked in many of Australia’s wine-producing regions but has a special focus on Shiraz which I have to say is one of my favourite Australian wines.

During our lunch we shared a glass of the Founder’s Reserve 2009 Langhorne Creek Shiraz which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Served with a melt in your mouth Venison chop the intense ripe plum and black cherry notes made for a perfect pairing.

Ben’s motto is ‘wine is an adventure, the more you can be engaged on that adventure, the better it becomes.’ which is funny becuase it’s very similar to the motto of The Women of Wine….”Life is an adventure but what would life be without wine”

Regularly the George Wyndahm Founder’s Reserve Shiras is listed at $19.95 but this week’s flyer from the LCBO has this lovely wine on for $17.95 so you’ll save $2.00.

So if you’re stocking up for the holidays, go grab a couple of these because I think you’ll really enjoy them.